*As always, Vernon’s betting tips are available to those who sign up to VG Tips membership, which anyone can do on a monthly or annual basis. But he also welcomes the opinion of others and what follows is a preview of week one of the new Premier League season. What follows are Jon’s opinions on three of the Premier League matches being covered live on television.
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Premier League TV games – week one preview by Jon Wozniak
This weekend marks the return of the Premier League. Free spending Manchester City must wait until Sunday to start the defence of their title when they travel to Spurs. Newcastle host West Ham in the 2 pm Sunday kick-off. I start with Friday’s London derby when newly-promoted Brentford hosts Arsenal at their new stadium.
Brentford versus Arsenal (Sky Sports 20:00)
Priced at 16/5 (SkyBet, Bet365) bookies are not giving Thomas Frank’s side much chance of winning this game. In Brentford’s final pre-season game, Ethan Pinnock and midfielder Frank Onyeka scored both goals as the Bees defeated Valencia at their new stadium. Onyeka is one of the club’s high-profile players, having signed from the Danish side, FC Midtjylland.
Arsenal are not the force they once were under Arsene Wenger. The Gunners splashed out £50m on Brighton’s defender Ben White in the summer. Maybe their attention should have turned to the other end of the pitch because Arsenal scored 55 goals in last season’s Premier League. Everton the only top ten team to score fewer goals.
Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang is the bookies’ favourite to score first, priced at 4/1 (SkyBet and Paddy Power). You can get odds 5/1 for his strike partner Alexandre Lacazette to score first (Bet365). Mikel Arteta has a lot to do to get Arsenal playing Champions League football again.
These sides last met on 26 September 2018, in the third round of the League Cup, when Arsenal ran out 3-1 winners. I’m backing Brentford to get a draw, priced at 11/4 (SkyBet). But I know Vernon has a different opinion for members of his valued VG Tips betting tips service.
Manchester United versus Leeds United (BT Sport Saturday 12:30)
There’s seldom a dull moment when these two sides meet. For the younger readers, it might surprise you to learn that both clubs (and Sheffield Wednesday) contested the last ever Division 1 title. In the Premier League last season, United finished as runners-up last season, with Leeds finishing a respectable 9th.
The hosts are heavy favourites to win this game, priced at 1/2 with most bookmakers. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side hammered Leeds 6-2 when the sides met at Old Trafford in December. Solskjaer splashed the cash when United signed Jadon Sancho for £90m. The former Dortmund attacking midfielder is an outstanding player. Bet365 price Sancho at 5/1 to score the first goal of the game.
Leeds spent £13m on Manchester City winger Jack Harrison in the summer. Kalvin Phillips enjoyed a good run in England’s bid for the European Championship, but he will have his work cut out sitting in front of the Leeds defence at Old Trafford. Leeds haven’t beaten Manchester United away from home in the Premier League era, and I don’t see this fixture changing history. Both SkyBet and William Hill price Leeds at 5/1 to get three points.
Norwich City versus Liverpool (Saturday 17:30 Sky Sports)
The Canaries return to the Premier League in Saturday’s late kick-off. Liverpool have won their last three meetings at Carrow Road, including a 1-0 win during their Premier League winning season. In 2016, the Reds won a nine-goal thriller, 5-4.
Billy Gilmour’s arrival from Chelsea on loan is a boost to Daniel Farke’s side. Norwich bolstered their forward line with £7m signing Josh Sargent from Wolfsburg. Sargent has scored five times for the United States in 16 games. The 21-year-old missed a lot of football last season because of an injury. Teemu Pukki provides the main threat for Norwich.
Despite finishing third last season, Liverpool had a poor campaign by their recent standards. Ibrahima Konate joined the Reds from RB Leipzig, to bolster the heart of defence. Virgil van Dijk returns after his horrific injury last season, but I expect Jürgen Klopp to be patient with the Dutchman. Konate could partner Joel Matip in central defense.
I was at Anfield on Sunday, when Andy Robertson limped off in Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao. Robertson is an outstanding left-back, and his absence is a blow to Liverpool’s ability to create chances.
Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah looked sharp in pre-season. Firmino scored a brace in Liverpool’s 3-1 win against Osasuna on Monday night. The club’s lack of transfer activity seems to have frustrated sections of the fanbase. I expect Harvey Elliot to get a run-out on Saturday. Elliot has a bright future in the game. With a talented squad and Klopp in charge, people should not be quick to write the club off. I’m taking a price of 5/1 for Liverpool to win their 20th league title.
The bookies don’t give Norwich a chance in this fixture, priced at 8/1 with Bet365. Liverpool are short priced favourites, at 2/7. It could be a long evening for Norwich if Klopp’s team come out of the traps firing on all cylinders.
I got odds of 7/1 for a threefold (Brentford v Arsenal draw) and wins for Manchester United and Liverpool.
I don’t envisage many upsets in the opening round of games.